How many of you looked for a fake ID in your late teens to be able to drink or go into a bar? Or go into a movie house with an R rated or NC-17 movie (“X rated” when I was a kid)? When I was in college the drinking age was briefly dropped to 18, and then went up to 21 in most states.
So when you consider that almost rite of passage when you are on the cusp of adulthood, how crazy is it to now learn of fake vaccine IDs becoming available on EBay and other websites! And of the social forces that are driving some to look for fake vaccine IDs, instead of going to get protected with the COVID 19 vaccine. Not to mention the political posturing in Texas, Florida and other Republican strongholds condemning, attacking or prohibiting “COVID vaccine passports” from being used. It’s not even limited to there – I just read that Republican Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker has ruled out vaccine passports!
Excuse me! Do any of these yahoos understand that for decades anyone travelling to a country with yellow fever or other infectious diseases has been required to show a WHO “yellow card” as proof of vaccination? It has long been a basic of any international travel, a given to be kept carefully together with your national passport. What is with these people who think COVID 19 shouldn’t also demand at a minimum comparable proof of vaccination? Where do people conclude and comment publicly that they have a constitutional right to travel, or even to frequent stores and other public events, without proof of vaccination?
It is hard to grasp how vaccine hesitancy and vaccine resistance has morphed into the dimensions that it has in certain elements of the population. It is gratifying to see that as of today, all adults 16+ are now eligible for the vaccine in the USA. Even Canada is apparently having difficulties with that, as well as much of Europe.
It used to be understood and taken as a given that there are overarching public health requirements for things like vaccines that are a public good and must be mandatory for anyone in contact with others. Children were required to demonstrate their shots before school enrollment. In my mind, the public was poorly served when politicians over the past 15-20 years began to allow for “religious” or other “philosophical” exemptions giving credence to the anti-vax movement, which had assembled and spread on the basis of lies and scientific ignorance. The result of those sort of weak and flaccid actions were the measles outbreaks we began to see over the last ten years, as immunization rates fell among certain populations. Measles is a deadly serious infectious disease, and yet politicians gave a pass to anti-science thinking of some.
Now with COVID 19 it is far worse, as the coronavirus mutates so fast, and there is a direct link between vaccine hesitancy and rejection and the opportunistic spread of new virus variants, some potentially more dangerous and virulent than others.
I know the Biden-Harris Administration has set aside some large sums for a new public information campaign about the vaccine, in part now timed with the increased eligibility. I think it is long overdue. I saw one commercial this morning with C&W singer Brad Paisley. Far far more work on messaging is required. We need people of influence from conservative media, church leaders, sports and entertainment stars out there nonstop pushing the need for both the vaccine and the documentation of it for peoples’ protection. They say you actually need to hear an advertisement for seven times before it begins to penetrate. Let’s hope this campaign is ramped up and both rejects the selflish idiocy of fake Coronavirus vaccine cards and makes undeniable the desire to have vaccination and its proof.